Find It Fast: Healthy Food Around Penn Campus

Short on time between classes, meetings, appointments, and errands? Meal prep more of an aspirational goal this week? Skip your sad desk lunch and swing into one of these 8 Philly staples on University of Pennsylvania campus.
Where to go to check all the boxes (healthy, made-to-order, and Instagram-ready), without tacking 45 minutes onto your lunch hour.
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3731 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

In Philadelphia, standing at the intersection of appetizing, quick, and nutritious? You’re probably a stone’s throw away from a honeygrow. While there are multiple locations around the city, the 3731 Walnut Street location on Penn campus offers prime time people watching from a wall of windows overlooking a popular path for pedestrians. In a hurry? Use the honeygrow + minigrow app to order ahead. What’s on offer? Just about any combination of noodles and greens you can imagine. honeygrow is known for its stir-fries and salads, streamlined ordering system, plentiful vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free options, and commitment to serving up high quality, wholesome, simple foods. Want to really bring your A-game? Customize a suggested stir-fry with added protein at lunch, pick up a cold-pressed, no sugar added juice for a 3pm fading fast snack, and grab the seasonal salad for dinner. Look, Ma: vegetables!

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3417 Spruce Street
Houston Hall, Lower Level
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Like to keep your options open, do you? Houston Market may be right up your alley. Ivy Leaf, Ginger! @ Spruce, and Bento each feature food prepared from scratch using responsibly-sourced, local ingredients. If made-to-order salad, hummus, or falafel bowls topped with local vegetables, grains, proteins, and house-made dressings call your name, make your way over to Ivy Leaf. If interactive cooking on a Mongolian grill strikes your fancy, go check out the bowls of fresh, local vegetables, a variety of proteins, rice and noodles, topped off with sauces by Ginger! @ Spruce. If you believe everything – but especially traditional sushi and sashimi (along with perennial favorites like edamame, steamed gyoza, seaweed salad, ramen bowls, rice bowls, and hand rolls) – tastes better from a Bento Box, make a beeline for Bento.

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3736 Spruce Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Nothing hits the spot on a hot day quite like a handheld frozen treat. If you’re in the market for one that packs a bit more of a nutritional punch, bypass the ice cream and frozen yogurt aisle and head straight to SoBol Philly. Located on Spruce Street, SoBol makes eye-catching açai bowls topped with fresh fruit and homemade granola, seven days a week. Specialty toppings include everything from natural nut butters to hemp, chia, and flax seeds, and adjustments can be made to the base blend puree if desired. (Want to add protein powder? No problem. Need to swap the splash of soy milk for coconut or almond? Easy-peasy.) Looking for a little less fruit and a little more veg? Go for the green bowl with a spinach and kale puree, complete with a mix of mango, strawberry, blueberry, coconut, granola, and river of honey.

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3728 Spruce Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

So you hit SoBol for breakfast, you’re still on Spruce, you’re no less short on time, and you’re [beyond] ready for lunch. Head for Just Salad, or the fast casual favorite under the navy blue awning next to Bonded Boutique. A University City staple for the health-conscious crowd with places to go and people to see, “just salad” is a bit of an undersell. Go here for wraps, warm bowls, toast boxes, soups, smoothies – and yes, very good salads. To make healthy food more accessible, Just Salad always incorporates 10 items under $10 into the current lineup. They also receive a new shipment of produce daily, and clearly denote which ingredients are local, sustainable, organic, antibiotic-free, and grass-fed. Brand loyalists swear by the Roasted Turkey Health Cobb (340 calories, with romaine, roasted turkey, egg whites, grape tomatoes, avocado, and sharp white cheddar) and 30-Gram Protein Wrap (660 calories, with kale and red cabbage, chickpeas, quinoa, edamame, feta, and egg whites).

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3716 Spruce Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

If your definition of healthy is closely linked to your appreciation for flexibility, balance, pleasure, and the first bite of a perfectly pressed panini, Gia Pronto might be a welcome addition to your weekday rotation. If you forgot to brown bag it but you’re still hankering for something that tastes homemade, the Ten Vegetable Soup is tough to beat. (For a close and competitive second, try the simple but satisfying Tomato Basil.) For the sandwich, salad, and pizza aficionados among you and your crew, Gia Pronto offers a tightly curated menu inspired by as many natural, humanely raised, vegetarian-fed, and locally sourced products as possible. Regulars flock to the Applegate Farm Turkey Panini, with free-range turkey, swiss cheese, roasted red peppers, apricot honey mustard, and arugula on whole wheat ciabatta.

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3401 Walnut Street
Franklin's Table
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Looking for healthy options inside Franklin’s Table Food Hall? If you’re on the hunt for something more substantial than the The Juice Merchant’s fresh pressed juices and smoothies, check out the chalkboard at High Street on Market and High Street Bakery’s offshoot, High Street Provisions. For breakfast, the aptly named Health Kick (turmeric yogurt, granola, fruit, and honey) comes ready to rock – with a side of minimum 50 likes on the social media platform of your choice. For lunch, try the Purple Grain (barley, quinoa, rye berries, greens, purple cabbage, avocado, and mixed vegetables), or the Avo Smash (avocado, greens, and tomatoes). And if you elect to pop a freshly baked pastry from pastry chef Aaron Manuyag in your purse “for later?” No judgments here.

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